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Mac Office 2008 Delayed

Microsoft  disclosed Thursday that the next major release of Office for the Apple Macintosh has been delayed until at least early next year.

The company announced in January that it planned to get Office 2008 for Mac out in the second half of this year.

"Office 2008 for Mac will be released to manufacturing (RTM) this December, which will allow for retail availability in the US in mid-January (planning for Macworld), and allow us to deliver Office 2008 to our volume license customers and global customers in the first quarter of 2008," wrote Craig Eisler, general manager of the Mac business unit (Mac BU), on Microsoft's Mac Mojo blog.

The reasons for the delay come down to the classic we-will-ship-no-wine-before-it's-time argument.

"It was clear from our June and July quality checkpoints that no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't release our product in time for the Christmas season with the kind of quality we wanted," Eisler continued. He said that the development team will be in "all hands on deck mode" until the product is finished.

Office 2008 for Mac will include the new graphics engine introduced in Office 2007 for Windows. Office 2008 for Mac will also feature an updated user interface, similar to Office 2007's Ribbon UI, that Microsoft has named the Elements Gallery.

The idea behind both new features is to take advantage of the Mac OS in order "to retain a Mac-like look and feel users are familiar with while taking advantage of new technologies," according to a company statement.

The package will also provide some features that will be on the Mac first, as well as some that will be on the Mac only and not on Windows. For instance, a publishing layout view will provide layout capabilities for documents such as newsletters, fliers and brochures. A ledger sheets capability will provide tools for common home and small business financial functions.

Additionally, Office 2008 for Mac will include a stand-alone application called My Day that will provide an "at-a-glance" schedule that doesn't require starting Entourage. Finally, Office 2008 for Mac will support the Office Open XML Formats, the default formats in Office 2007, according to the company statement.